A well balanced and healthy diet is essential for both your well being and that of your baby while preparing for pregnancy. Everything that you eat and drink will also become your unborn child’s nourishment and what you store before pregnancy is important for early fetal development when all the major organs are formed.
One of the B-Vitamins, folic acid, helps prevent neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida, in unborn babies. It is recommended that all women who are preparing for pregnancy should increase their average daily intake to 0.6 mg by taking a 0.4 mg supplement before attempting, conception, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This is the time when your baby’s organs and body systems are forming. If you are epileptic and take drugs to control your epilepsy you should consult your doctor before taking folic acid.
While preparing for pregnancy regular exercise is important as it will help you get fit before conception and it will strengthen muscles in lower back, stomach, and legs which will help your body cope better with the demands of pregnancy.
By doing regular Stretching exercises at home, or at an organized class, you will strengthen yourself for preparing for pregnancy. As your legs have to carry more weight during pregnancy, try to do regular daily exercises such as running on the spot to build them up.
Medication and Immunization
Fertilization and early development of a baby are controlled by delicately balanced chemical process in the body. Addition chemicals entering your body as medication can upset this development, so if possible you should avoid taking any medicines before conception and during pregnancy. Know this before preparing for pregnancy.
If you are on long term medication, you will need to talk to your doctor about your options before preparing for pregnancy. Medicines that are available over the counter, natural remedies and vitamin supplements should also be avoided, unless they have been recommended by your doctor.
Oral contraceptives rely on chemically-produced hormones to control fertility. If you are taking the pill, change to barrier method, such as the condom or diaphragm, for three months before trying to conceive. This allows your body to clear itself of synthetic hormones and to re-establish its own cycle.
Immunization: An unborn baby exposed to rubella (German measles) during its early development can be born severely handicapped. Don’t assume that because you were vaccinated in your teens, and you have had the infection, that you are automatically immune. Analyze this before preparing for pregnancy.
Ask your doctor to give you a blood test to check. If you are not immune you can be vaccinated, but you should not get pregnant until the vaccination virus has cleared from your blood, which takes about three months. If you have been given vaccines for tropical diseases, you should also wait for three months before getting pregnant.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
Once you have decided that you want to have a baby, you and your partner should concentrate on getting your self fit and healthy before trying to conceive. Ideally you should begin preparing for pregnancy at least 3 months before conception so that you can be sure that your child will get the best possible start in life.
If your pregnancy is unplanned, then start taking extra care of yourself as soon as you suspect that you might become pregnant. This may involve come basic changes in your lifestyle.
There is evidence that suggest that smoking by either partner can delay conception, so if you or your partner smokes you should stop now. In addition, smoking while preparing for pregnancy will put the baby at risk and can also affect your well- being; giving up before conception will benefit you and your child.
Alcohol can inhibit fertility, so both you and your partner should keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or avoid drinking altogether while trying to conceive. Once you are pregnant, alcohol, if taken in excess, can restrict fetal development and can even cause malformation. It is advisable to drink no more than one unit of alcohol a week during pregnancy.
Well, if you seek an honest reply, its better to completely avoid alcohol if preparing for pregnancy and at all times since its bad effects supersede its good effects. So simply say NO to alcohol!